On Saturday evening at the URI Fine Arts Center, The URI Department of Music presented The American Band of Providence, RI and the 2015 Southern New England Honor Band with guest conductor Paul Cummings.
Paul Cummings is currently the director of the Humboldt Symphony and the Symphonic Band at Humboldt State University in Arcata, California. Cummings worked with 65 bright and talented high school students from all over Rhode Island, some whose high school’s music departments have recently experienced budget cuts, to make sure their talents could be heard.
Clara Crawford, from North Kingstown High School, viewed this event as “an extra opportunity to play outside of the music department in our high school and that’s not really given to you unless you want it.” Crawford explained that her high school music department had recently experienced budget cuts by 40 percent.
She showed how thankful she was for this opportunity when she explained how she believes this event to be a good way to remind those who are not musically inclined, that it is a great alternative to get your talent and passion for music heard; done in hopes to remind people that music still exists in our society even if it may be going down hill.
The set included pieces by Davide Delle Cese, Gustav Holst, Rossano Galante, Frank Ticheli and John Mackey. Prior to The Southern New England Honor Band came The American Band of Providence, RI. Directed by Dr. Brian Cardany was once a playing member of The American Band himself. The American Band is one of America’s oldest civilian concert bands and it originally originated as an all-brass band under its first leader Joseph Green. The American Band personnel consisted of 73 instrumentalist who all brought their own flavor to the stage, with songs by Roger Cichy, Joseph Wilcox Jenkins, Dwayne Milburn and more. Both performances each had their own story and way of presenting themselves whether it was loud and flashy or relaxed and soothing. By the end of each song came a rousing round of applause.
During the night, two high school students were each awarded a $2,000 scholarships for their musical contributions to their high schools. As the event was coming to a close Paul Cummings took a moment to express his gratitude for the students he had practiced with over the last few weeks.